K. William Watson
In an attempt to continue an existing scheme of protectionist quotas for theaters and television stations, European filmmakers have admitted that no one likes their movies. Right now, European countries like France require that a certain portion of movies shown to the public be of domestic or European origin. The possibility that a U.S.-EU trade agreement could end these quotas has prompted some European filmmakers to start an online petition acclaiming the virtues of cultural diversity.
The best part of the petition is the filmmakers’ claim that European civilization will fail without them:
The liberalisation of the audiovisual and film sector will lead to the destruction of all of what until now protected, promoted and helped develop European cultures… .
Those who, in the name of Europe, will have accepted this resignation will be forever guilty in the eyes of history. Cultural diversity must not be just another bargaining tool. It must remain an ambition, a legitimate demand, and a commitment.
It is not too late!
Let me paraphrase: If Europeans are allowed to consume our competitor’s product, Europe will cease to exist. I’m sure other domestic industries wish they could get away with claiming to be the guardian of national identity, though I’d be impressed if they could make it with a straight face. Maybe the U.S. automobile industry should give it a try.
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The governments of the world are relentless.
They recognize the freedom the Net gives its citizens and many see this information as an existential threat. Whether its activists on Twitter in Iran, or citizens blogging about last year’s train disaster in China, many of the powers that be would like to clamp down on the spreading of information. It makes things difficult for them. Information is the crony’s kryptonite.
Earlier this year the Internet legion rose to fight SOPA and CISPA in the United States and ACTA in Europe. Now the call to the defenders of information freedom is going out again. A free and open web must now be defended at the United Nations.
(From Tech Dirt)
Over two billion people are already online, representing about a third of the planet. And, yes, spreading that access further is a good goal, but the ITU is not the player to do it. The reason that the internet has been so successful and has already spread as far as it has, as fast as it has, is that it hasn’t been controlled by a bureaucratic government body in which only other governments could vote. Instead, it was built as an open interoperable system that anyone could help build out. It was built in a bottom up manner, mainly by engineers, not bureaucrats. Changing that now makes very little sense.
Besides, does anyone really think that a process that requires the companies who successfully innovated to funnel money to corrupt governments and/or corrupt state-controlled telcos is going to magically lead to greater investment in internet growth? If so, I’ve got a prince in Nigeria with 53 $ Million US waiting in a bank all for you.
The post Yet Another Effort to Regulate the Internet, This Time from the United Nations appeared first on AgainstCronyCapitalism.org.
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Acemoglu and Robinson: Why Nations Fail
In a generally deferential and ineffective Congressional spectacle, some say minuet and I think kabuki dance, Jim DeMint’s ‘questioning’ of Jamie Dimon, who responded to most serious questions with poker faced whoppers, today pushed me over the edge, and so putting the internet feed on mute, I thought I would take a moment to bring the study Why Nation’s Fail by Acemoglu and Robinson to your attention.
"Countries differ in their economic success because of their different institutions, the rules influencing how the economy works, and the incentives that motivate people,” write Acemoglu and Robinson. Extractive institutions, whether feudalism in medieval Europe or the use of schoolchildren to harvest cotton in contemporary Uzbekistan, transfer wealth from the masses to elites.
In contrast, inclusive institutions—based on property rights, the rule of law, equal provision of public services, and free economic choices—create incentives for citizens to gain skills, make capital investments, and pursue technological innovation, all of which increase productivity and generate wealth. Economic institutions are themselves the products of political processes, which depend on political institutions. These can also be extractive, if they enable an elite to maintain its dominance over society, or inclusive, if many groups have access to the political process. Poverty is not an accident: “Poor countries are poor because those who have power make choices that create poverty.” Therefore, Acemoglu and Robinson argue, it is ultimately politics that matters.
The logic of extractive and inclusive institutions explains why growth is not foreordained. Where a cohesive elite can use its political dominance to get rich at the expense of ordinary people, it has no need for markets and free enterprise, which can create political competitors. In addition, because control of the state can be highly lucrative, infighting among contenders for power produces instability and violence. This vicious circle keeps societies poor.
In more fortunate countries, pluralistic political institutions prevent any one group from monopolizing resources for itself, while free markets empower a large class of people with an interest in defending the current system against absolutism. This virtuous circle, which first took form in seventeenth-century England, is the secret to economic growth."
James Kwak, Failure Is An Option, A Review of Why Nations Fail
As you know I have often said that in a sovereign fiat currency, inflation and deflation are a policy decision.
Acemoglu and Robinson take this premise a broad step further, and show through many historical examples that national success or failure, as one might define it in terms of the broadest happiness and success for the most people, is also the result largely of policy decisions.
Neither austerity or stimulus will be effective in restoring growth to the American economy. Most if not all of the pain of austerity will fall on the hapless victims and the disenfranchised innocent, while most of the profits of recovery through stimulus will flow to the one percent. No matter what strategy you may employ, it is difficult to be successful against a stacked deck in a rigged game.
The Banks must be restrained, and the financial system reformed, with balance restored to the economy, before there can be any sustained growth and recovery.
Statistics: Posted by yoda — Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:52 pm
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The bank runs that we are watching right now in Greece are shocking, but they are only just the beginning. Since May 6th, nearly one billion dollars has been withdrawn from Greek banks. For a small nation like Greece, that is an absolutely catastrophic number. At this point, the entire Greek banking system is in danger of collapsing. If you had money in a Greek bank, why wouldn’t you pull it out? If Greece leaves the euro, all euros in Greek banks will likely be converted to drachmas, and the value of those drachmas will almost certainly decline dramatically. In fact, it has been estimated that Greek citizens could see the value of their bank accounts decline by up to 50 percent if Greece leaves the euro. So if you had money in a Greek bank, it would only make sense to withdraw it and move it to another country as quickly as possible. And as the eurozone begins to unravel, this is a scenario that we are going to see play out in country after country. As member nations leave the eurozone, you would be a fool to have your euros in Italian banks or Spanish banks when you could have them in German banks instead. So the bank runs that are happening in Greece right now are only a preview of things to come. Before this crisis is over we are going to see bank runs happening all over Europe.
If Greece leaves the euro, the consequences are likely to be quite messy. Those that are promoting the idea that a “Grexit” can be done in an orderly fashion are not being particularly honest. The following is from a recent article in the Independent….
“Whoever tells you a Greek exit would be no big deal is an idiot, lying or disingenuous,” said Sony Kapoor of the European think-tank Re-Define. Economists fear that a disorderly exit would prompt a huge run by investors on Spanish and Italian debt, forcing those countries to seek support from an EU bailout fund, which, with a capacity of just €500bn, is widely regarded as too small to cope with those pressures.
A Greek exit from the euro would not only result in a run on Spanish and Italian bonds, but it would also likely result in a run on Spanish and Italian banks.
If Greece is allowed to leave the euro, that will be a signal that other countries will eventually be allowed to leave as well. Nobody in their right mind would want their euros stuck in Spanish or Italian banks if those countries end up converting back to national currencies.
Fear is a powerful motivator. If Greece converts their euros back to drachmas, that will be a clear signal that all euros are not created equally. The race to move money into German banks will accelerate dramatically.
And a Greek exit from the euro is looking more likely with each passing day. Even the IMF is now admitting that it is a very real possibility….
Christine Lagarde, head of the IMF, warned she was “technically prepared for anything” and said the utmost effort must be made to ensure any Greek exit was orderly. The effect was likely to be “quite messy” with risks to growth, trade and financial markets. “It is something that would be extremely expensive and would pose great risks but it is part of options that we must technically consider,” she said.
Meanwhile, banks in other troubled European nations are already on shaky ground. The Spanish banking system is an absolute disaster zone at this point and on Monday night Moody’s downgraded the credit ratings of 26 Italian banks.
The situation in Italy is especially worth keeping a close eye on. As Ambrose Evans-Pritchard recently noted, things are not looking good for Italy at all….
Italy’s former premier Romano Prodi said the EU risks instant contagion to Spain, Italy, and France if Greece leaves. “The whole house of cards will come down”, he said
Angelo Drusiani from Banca Albertini said the only way to avert catstrophe is to convert the European Central Bank into a lender of last resort. Otherwise Italy faces “massive devaluation, three to five years of hyperinflation, and unbearable unemployment.”
So what can be done about any of this?
Well, there is actually a lot that could be done if politicians in Europe were willing to think outside of the established global financial paradigm.
The truth is that Greece could solve their current financial problems in four easy steps. They would have to be willing to stick it to the rest of Europe and to risk being blackballed by the international community, but it could be done.
The following is my prescription for Greece….
1) Default on all debts.
2) Leave the euro.
3) Issue drachmas that are debt-free and that do not come from a central bank. Instead, have the Greek government create them and spend them directly into circulation.
4) Enjoy a return to prosperity.
In such a scenario, the Greek national debt would no longer be a problem, the Greek government would never have to borrow any more money and austerity would no longer be needed.
Yes, inflation would be an issue with the new currency, but a bit of inflation would be a walk in the park compared to the horrible economic depression that Greece is experiencing right now.
And once the Greek economy was growing again, it would certainly be possible for them to make the transition to “hard money” if they wanted to.
It is imperative that we all understand that just because the global financial system works a certain way today does not mean that it must always work that way.
If you have a few minutes, I want you to watch an incredible speech by a 12-year-old Canadian girl named Victoria Grant. In this 6 minute speech, she details how the bankers are defrauding the people of Canada and how the Canadian government does not actually need to borrow a single penny from the bankers….
If a 12-year-old girl can figure this out, then why can’t the rest of us?
Sadly, the financial world still seems enamored with the corrupt central banking system that has gotten us into this mess. In fact, one recent poll found that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a 75 percent approval rating from global investors.
Right now, America is going down the same path as Greece, Spain and Italy have gone. Eventually we will hit a wall and our financial system will fall apart.
We need the American people to understand that the Federal Reserve system is a perpetual debt machine. The U.S. national debt is now more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Fed was first created. It is at the very core of our national financial problems.
When will people wake up and realize that central banking is the problem and not the solution?
When will people wake up and realize that national governments do not have to go into debt to anyone if they do not want to?
In our world today, there is far more debt than there is money.
It is a system that will inevitably crash.
But there are other alternatives.
Unfortunately, politicians all over the globe continue to want to be married to our current debt-based financial system.
As a result, we will suffer the consequences of that system.
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Institutions — not geography, culture, or other factors — explain why some nations succeed and others fail. So says Daron Acemoglu in an ambitious new book drawing evidence from thousands of years of human history and from societies as diverse as those of the Inca Empire, 17th century England, and contemporary Botswana. Inclusive political and economic institutions, influenced by critical junctures in history, produce virtuous cycles that reinforce pluralism in the market and in politics.
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Toronto Sun editorial first nations
EDITORIAL | TORONTO SUN 27 JAN 2012
When 82 First Nations chiefs and band councillors make more than the prime minister, all while many of their people live in abject poverty, something is horribly amiss. It’s not new, but it is amiss.
In Alberta alone, for example, 47 chiefs and councillors made more last year than the PM’s $317,574. We have serious reservations about that.
Now, since the money these chiefs and councillors pocket is grant money from taxpayers, auditing their books in search of ne’er-do-wells and misappropriated dollars would normally receive no political pushback. But the Liberals need ink, don’t they? They’re a political embarrassment in search of some buzz. So, looking for a headline grabber, along comes Liberal aboriginal affairs critic Carolyn Bennett to label the newly-introduced First Nations Transparency Act — Bill C-27 — a "racist" and "paternalistic" piece of legislation. Well done, Ms. Bennett. There’s your news hit. Now please go away.
There is absolutely nothing "racist" or "paternalistic" about Bill C-27, a vital and long-overdue piece of legislation that deserves quick passage so that all Canada will finally get to know down which hole the billions in First Nations’ grant money goes.
From the outside looking in, and this is what raises many hackles, it would appear that too many chiefs and not enough Indians are living the good life on the taxpayers’ dime. Bill C-27 should clear up the mess up. Much like the CBC vs. the Taxpayer, First Nations band members deserve transparency and accountability from their elected officials, and they are not getting it when their leaders refuse to come clean with where the government’s money goes, or how much goes into their own pockets. What is "racist" about that?
Now, you may have never heard of the Glooscap First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia but you might be interested to know that one Mi’kmaq politician there pulled in almost $1 million in pay in 2010, while band councillors each earned between $210,000 and $260,000. Now, close your eyes and try to envision just how big the Glooscap First Nation must be to warrant such mammoth salaries. Give up? Well, in 2009, the population actually living on the reserve was 87. We didn’t drop any zeroes.
2109/4106 – Release Date: 12/27/11
Statistics: Posted by DIGGER DAN — Thu Feb 02, 2012 8:48 pm
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